Sports and Social Media
By Rebecca McSweeney
Many students at Stoughton High School have social media feeds filled with posts from the various sports teams at SHS. With a bustling game schedule and multiple practices a week, SHS coaches are turning to social media to publicize their team information and keep it organized.
SHS Track and Field Coach Jennifer Ceolinski helps maintain social media for the track team. She holds an account Facebook and on Twitter @SHS_CoachJen, and the boys’ and girls’ track teams also have their own Twitter accounts. Since the SHS track and field program includes multiple participants, having pages that the coach and the team leaders update allows for an increase in communication efficiency.
When asked about why she originally created the social media pages, Ceolinski responded, “To keep everyone informed and on the same page, to recognize accomplishments, to share photos, and to build the camaraderie of our teams and program.” Parents typically use Facebook more, with Twitter acting as the social media outlets for most of the track team athletes.
A survey of 50 SHS students found that of the students surveyed, 52 percent do not follow an SHS sports team on social media. 30 percent of students said that the posts on the accounts they followed made them want to attend an event for that sport, whereas 18 percent said that they did not feel motivated to attend a sporting event based as a result of social media posts.
Out of the survey participants who responded that they follow an SHS sports team on social media, 77 percent also said that they play a sport at SHS, while 23 percent do not play a sport at SHS. Athletes only make up 36 percent of students surveyed who do not follow an SHS sports team’s social media account, with the remaining participants belonging to that group not playing a sport.
While social media remains an effective tool to increase communication both within a team and with potential spectators, even some people who do follow sports teams on social media do not feel compelled to attend an event. As a result, the individuals running a page work to create engaging posts about exciting moments for the team, in an effort to create buzz about the sport- especially during its season.
During the season, Ceolinski said she posts about, “times, locations, parking and admittance fee information, getting them excited and pumped up about the event, letting parents know roughly what time their athlete will compete.”
To increase the page’s follower count, Ceolinski emails parents and athletes to inform them about the social media accounts. Ceolinski described the posts, “They are very valuable and greatly increase the reach of our program.” Social media allows for a greater number of parents and students to get involved with the sports program.
When maintaining a social media account, athletics department members hope to engage people both on and off the team, hoping to persuade their audience to shift from not only “liking” and “retweeting” posts to attending events and supporting the teams.